If one of your children is planning on attending a private high school, there’s a decent chance that the High School Placement Test is looming on the horizon. While the HSPT isn’t always a prerequisite for entry, it is recognized as a standard throughout many private schools globally – and particularly religious Catholic high schools. Here’s everything you need to know about the HSPT, as well as some steps you can take to make the process of taking the exam go smoothly for your son or daughter.
What Does the HSPT Cover?
The most basic version of the High School Placement Test isn’t that different from any other high school level standardized tests. It ditches more complicated criteria like essays prominent in the SAT and ACT and instead focuses on a battery of multiple-choice questions. The questions tend to be more straightforward than many other high school level exams like the ISEE or the SSAT.
There’s a downside to that, however. While the questions are significantly less sophisticated, they make up for that in terms of sheer volume. The HPST takes roughly the same amount of time as the SSAT and ISEE to complete, but it has double the questions. All told, actual testing time for the HPST takes two and a half hours, and you’re expected to answer a total of 298 questions. These cover fundamental subjects like math, reading, and language. Depending on what school you’re attending, there may be additional sections as well. These include science questions and those related to the Catholic religion – typically included in religious or otherwise specialized schools.
Is Rigorous Studying Required?
In many ways, the HPST is more straightforward than alternative high school level entrance exams. But it also comes with its own challenges. The primary one for most students will likely be the sheer wealth of questions. Finishing the exam means working through roughly two questions a minute over the course of 150 minutes. This rapid-fire approach to questioning isn’t prevalent in standardized tests, and it requires students to really study for the exam rather than just studying for the materials.
The other main concern when preparing for the HPST is that you can only take it once. That means that the score you’ve got is what you’re stuck with for high school entry requirements. Understandably, that means that you’ll want to do all the studying you can to prepare yourself for the experience. It will require rigorous thinking and the ability to make decisions quickly. Since there are no penalties for wrong scores, it encourages an even more aggressive test-taking approach than alternative tests.